[PARTNER] High Fashion for Charity

Fashion designer Criselda Lontok with the children model volunteers of Philippine International Aid's "Giving Hope to the Children" fashion show fundraiser (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Fashion designer Criselda Lontok with the children model volunteers of Philippine International Aid's "Giving Hope to the Children" fashion show fundraiser (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

The Philippine International Aid (PIA), one of the oldest and biggest Fil-Am charitable organizations in the West Coast, held its annual fundraiser "Giving Hope to the Children" last November 23 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. The event is highly anticipated in the community, bringing together the movers and shakers in one giant giving-fest that those who want to make themselves known among Filipino Americans can't afford to miss.

Beyond the glitz and glamor of its yearly bash, PIA's credentials are solid gold: more than 38,000 disadvantaged children in the Philippines sent to school since the charity was founded 28 years ago by Mona Lisa Yuchengco (who is also publisher of Positively Filipino); over $3.1 million in grants and scholarships disbursed; more than 25 non-governmental organizations partnered; and thousands of volunteers and donors/sponsors not only from the Filipino American community but from corporations, non-profits and non-Filipino friends who share PIA's commitment to help underprivileged and disabled Filipino children get an education.

And all it takes to support a child is 40 cents a day or $150 a year! Sponsors get letters from their children and copies of their report cards, so they can monitor their progress and establish personal relationship if they want to. 

For more information on PIA, please check out its web site at www.phil-aid.org.

The highlight of this year's fundraiser was the fashion show featuring the creations of Criselda Lontok. Found usually at Rustan's department store in Manila, Lontok's clothes delight real, mature women because of their "forgiving" lines, their vibrant colors and their easy elegance.

Here are some of our favorites, as captioned by couturier Anthony Legarda:

Multi-color print boat neck kimono sleeve tunic top paired with black capri pants (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Multi-color print boat neck kimono sleeve tunic top paired with black capri pants (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Multi-color leaf and zebra print boat neck handkerchief hem tunic top paired with black straight-legged pants (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Multi-color leaf and zebra print boat neck handkerchief hem tunic top paired with black straight-legged pants (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Silver gray three-quarter length bell sleeve crop top paired with matching lace appliqué peplum straight-legged pants (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Silver gray three-quarter length bell sleeve crop top paired with matching lace appliqué peplum straight-legged pants (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Merlot dotted sheer fitted top and camisole paired with multi-color striped A-line maxi skirt (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Merlot dotted sheer fitted top and camisole paired with multi-color striped A-line maxi skirt (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Black with merlot and white floral pattern long sleeve modified A-line long gown (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Black with merlot and white floral pattern long sleeve modified A-line long gown (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

(Right) Multi-color print chiffon boat neck kaftan top and gold sequin camisole paired with chartreuse harem pants. (Left) multi-color print chiffon boat neck kaftan crop top and gold sequin camisole paired with black leggings  (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

(Right) Multi-color print chiffon boat neck kaftan top and gold sequin camisole paired with chartreuse harem pants. (Left) multi-color print chiffon boat neck kaftan crop top and gold sequin camisole paired with black leggings  (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Multi-color floral print kaftan top and gold camisole paired with crimson straight-legged pants (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

Multi-color floral print kaftan top and gold camisole paired with crimson straight-legged pants (Photo by Selit Rapadas/UNIT ONE Photography Studio)

And to get a better idea of the good work that PIA does, here's a short documentary produced and directed by Mona Lisa Yuchengco, and written and narrated by retired TV journalist, Lloyd LaCuesta: